name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : February 2016


Life Lately

Let's be honest - moms struggle, and that's the truth. Your struggle may be stress at work, financial issues, sickness, anxiety, crazy kid chaos, finding time to do it all, etc... If your mornings are like mine, you are herding children around slowly losing your mind until any of them decide to listen. We struggle in our beautiful mess daily.

My life right now is living with grief again. It sure is a wild and bumpy ride. I am currently all over the place, and I want to be candid with my journey - and simply, to be honest. Sometimes. social media can make the lives around you seem perfect while yours is just not so.

So I want to share a realistic picture of where I am right now - with all of it. I hope this post is one I look back on later this year (or heck, maybe next year) and see how I've overcome the struggles I'm having lately.

Exercise. I workout so I don't wig out. I like that motto because that's what moving does for me. My journey started when I began to share how fitness has completely changed my life. I try on a daily basis to share that story - the ups and downs - but, I get flustered when there is not much response. Sometimes, I feel like I am talking to a wall, but I have to keep moving - for me.

Running. Where I was a year ago with running is not where I am now. My pace is so much slower; I walk more on a run. It's really frustrating when it use to feel so natural. The same 10K I did last year is coming up, and I am not confident. My nephew, who is running with me, says he's sticking with me the entire race. I may come in last, but I've got to run - especially with him by my side!

Eating. I have always had a big ol' love for some good eats. I can rock some healthy meals during the week, but once that weekend hits, I fall back - some times really far back. I don't want to beat myself up about it all, but it seems like every Monday is another new start. We love to socialize on weekends, so we tend to eat too many treats. I am a big fan of "everything in moderation," but I am struggling with confusing stress with needing something not so good for me.

Studying. I have plans to have my own boot camp one day and was studying to get certified. But right now, my brain is struggling to do little tasks each day so there is no way I can focus on muscle groups and oxygen cycles in the body. Looks like I need to extend my deadline, and I am okay with that right now.

Appearance. Almost one year ago, I began sharing my journey. I had some great before and after photos to show my hard work. I am not in that "before" picture anymore, but I am definitely not the "after" now. My struggle here is that I feel as though I am falling behind - some days quicker than others. Life has been so crazy and different lately, that I am giving myself grace, but I am ready to feel comfortable again.

Here's what we all need to do when we life gets to be too much. We need to pray; we need to fight one day at a time; we need to love our kids; we need to be good friends; and we need to be patient. Patience is why I want to share this time with others - I'm ready for life to be "normal" again, and sometimes I expect it to happen RIGHT NOW. The fact is - we have to process change (and in my case - grief) without putting an expiration date on it. We have to give ourselves grace. Perhaps my journey now is not just fitness but sharing how I'll overcome life's hardships once again.

If you are struggling right now with whatever stresses or change life has handed you, give yourself a moment or many moments to process it all. As moms, we don't often have time for ourselves to rest our brains, the what ifs, or the scenarios in our head. I need to write these words to remind myself to give it time. And to remind myself that I have gotten through tough times before, and I will be okay.

Maybe you needed that reminder today. I pray all of your "life lately" struggles are preparing you for something greater too.


Portion Control - How to Balance Your Daily Meals

TGIF, friends! Yes, I did indulge in an Easy Brownie Trifle, but I'm not letting that indulgence get me down - we all deserve treats every now and then. My past fitness "plan" was to workout then eat whatever the heck I wanted and eat it all the time (like that trifle). And guess what happened? Not a darn thing. I knew I needed to watch what I ate, when I ate it, and how much I ate.

I had to learn how to balance AND portion my meals. A little program helped me do that - once I tracked my meals and measured carefully, it became a natural habit for me. Now, no matter where I am - home or out to eat - I try to build my plate very carefully (NOTE: I say TRY because I love chips, queso, margaritas, chocolate, etc. I am just learning that "everything in moderation" thing).

Balancing your meals and constructing your plate takes time - and of course, it takes preparation. Here are some ways I build each of my meals throughout the day. 

1. Plan your grocery list carefully. I use my planner to list my meals - from breakfast all the way to dinner. From this meal planner, I build my grocery list and make sure the bulk of my groceries come from the outer perimeters of the store. I know that the processed food will not settle well with me or my goals. If I go in without a plan, I leave with bad choices.

2. Build a protein-packed breakfast. Eggs and more eggs. I usually have 2 each morning and mix in with my favorite veggies. When I start my day with protein, I feel full. To think, I use to skip breakfast completely. Try these breakfast muffins if you need something quick and on the go. Another great idea is Greek yogurt - top with berries, honey, cinnamon, peanut butter, or granola. It's filling and a good compliment for that sweet tooth. 

3. Snack twice daily. My snacks are also packed with protein - I am either having a shake or hard boiled eggs. The protein in these snacks give me the boost I need - especially during that afternoon slump. Another good snack option is fruit. I buy fruit like crazy then wash and store so I can grab when needed. A nice fruit bowl of grapes and berries make a nice snack buddy with that protein. 

4. Leave the carbs behind after 3pm. When I began working out before my wedding, my trainer at the time suggested leaving the carbs out of your meals after 3pm. Since I try to follow this on most days, my dinners are mainly protein and loads of veggies. For me, heavy amounts of pasta and or breads leave me feeling bloated and heavy. I don't like this feeling right before bed so I keep the dinners light (I try to save my treat meals for Fridays - nothing says, "congrats, you made it through another week" like some comfort foods. And maybe an adult beverage).

5. Move. I could talk about exercise all day long and how much it saves me daily. I HAVE TO MOVE - for mental strength more than anything. Walk, do Couch to 5K, join a gym, boot camp - just MOVE. You can find 20-30 minutes a day to get up and get out. With the balance of healthy meals, the physical activity will kick your life up a notch. I recently read an idea to give up 20 minutes of social media scrolling and move - great idea for those who can't find time!

I've been sharing some meal ideas via Instagram, and I am including some of my favorites here. You can make delicious meals that leave you feeling good and full. 

And, for me, the saving grace has been these containers and this program. I used the containers so much that I can build my meals quickly and know I am giving myself all then necessary nutrients I need in this busy life. Each meal below was built with these handy containers, too!

Breakfast - Egg and Veggie Scramble
2 eggs plus veggies (bell peppers and zucchini)

Lunch - Fajita Bowl
Flank steak, veggies (bell peppers and tomatoes), avocado, brown rice
(Dinner - omit the rice)

Lunch - Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken, veggies (asparagus and carrots), brown rice, siracha
(Dinner - omit the rice)

Lunch - Avocado Turkey Grilled Cheese with Sliced Apples
2 slices Eziekiel bread, Applegate smoked cheddar, avocado, and Applegate nitrate-free turkey
grilled on stove or George Foreman grill. 

What's the next step to balancing your meals? Find accountability. Grab a friend or your spouse and create meals and programs to help you make better choices. Check in with one another - share recipes too. If I can help you in anyway, contact me. I am a work in progress, and I like my cheat meals too; but, I just know what makes me see these inner and outer results I need to be healthy. Have a great weekend, friends!


Thank you.

Writing this post has been on my mind for almost a month. There are words inside just clawing to get out into the open. I am honestly not sure how my brother would feel about this post, but I do know he would want me to be okay. So, to the words I go….

At the beginning of January, I wrote a post about dealing with grief. With what has happened in my life, I do not consider myself any expert on the topic, but I did want to share more of my story - mainly about how the loss of my dad affects me every single day of my life. Then, I lost my brother the day before I planned to hit “publish.” That post can wait another day, because I really don’t know how to deal right now. Grief is a crazy journey; it really never ends because your heart is different. Life is just different.

I am going to put this right here because there is NO other way to say it - IT SUCKS. It truly does - no matter how or why, losing someone you deeply love is so physically and mentally painful. Dealing with grief? I have NO idea how to help you with powerful words or insight, but I do know that with all this sadness, I AM so beyond grateful. And that’s what I want this post to say - THANK YOU.

Thank you to our extended family - my amazing uncle dropped everything (again) and drove 4 hours to my mom’s. I am not really sure what we talked about, but I know he and my aunt were there. Being around them at that moment was what we needed. Thank you to our families who came to be with us at his service and after - and for calling to check on my mom. Thank you.

Thank you to my in-laws who drove far to be with me. And, they understood when I had to take a glass of wine into the closet and just cry because there were too many people at my house, and I needed a minute. Thank you.

Thank you to my children's teachers - they prayed and loved on my babies when I didn’t know how to be a mom at that point. They promised to care for and love them; I cannot say thank you enough.

Thank you to my dermatologist. I went for a skin scare check last week and for some reason, I just cried in the room. She hugged me so tight. My dermatologist, y’all. She could’ve looked the other way, but she was so kind. I felt like a hot mess, but she never showed that she thought that. Bless her.

Thank you to my friends. Wow. The texts, the calls, the prayers, the food, the babysitting, the wine, the hugs, the allowing me to cry when I had a moment (or two). The friends who said “I’m sorry you are sad, now I will pick you up at 8 for a drink and won’t take no for an answer, k?” Those kind of awesome, true friends who let you be you and grieve however you see fit.

Thank you to my husband. I am NOT easy by any means so throw in something so hard, and it can be messy. He loves me despite my mess, my sass, my crazy grief, my confusion, my happy one minute to loco the next. And, I know his heart was hurting too because he loved my brother like his own. I love you, Pocket. What a crazy, hard, beautiful ride - thank God you’re mine.

Thank you for my brother’s friends who came to his service. Thank you for hugging my mom and sharing stories about him. Thank you still for going to see her a month later and helping her. It helps her SO much. Please don’t stop those visits.

Thank you to my mom’s friends. Ms. Kathy, Ms. Janet, Ms. Mary Jane, Ms. Patty, Ms. Judy….I am forgetting so many. But, you have been her friend for so long, and I can feel relieved knowing you are caring for her.

Thank you to my nephews. Y’all, my brother gave me the greatest gift of being an aunt to these boys. In the last year, we have gotten closer than ever, and I adore them. They are my friends; they are my counselors; they are my kids’ role models (heck, mine too). They rule - that’s all I can say. I love you, Gage and Gunar.

Thank you to my mom and sister. We are strong though we don’t know it most days. We are going to be okay because we have each other. We are allowed bad days - I say take as many as we need; but, we have to keep living because our two people are having a beautiful time in Heaven. They are fishing, building, laughing, and enjoying being with each other once again. They want us to do the same here. I love you both so deeply. We can do hard things.

Thank you to my kids. Some days, I don’t feel I am cut out to be a mom. It’s hard stuff. But, when I look at both of you, I see so much of my dad and my brother - your pop and uncle. You are FUN; you are quite funny; you are carefree; you are adventurous. There’s a reason God gave you both to me. I love you both - to infinity and beyond.

And one final thank you. To my brother. When dad died, you told me you would look out for me because he would want that. I am not sure if this is what you meant, but I know with my whole heart, you are taking care of me still. I feel your protective arms telling me it will be okay; that you’re okay. I love you, and I am so thankful I had a big brother just like you. I hope you know that. Thank you for protecting me always.

Thank you for reading my giant thank you card :) Here is what I ask now - life is going on around us, and it is hard to watch it happen sometimes. Please keep thinking and praying - we are in for another long road - one that may never end. Check on us, let’s go grab that coffee/wine. Pray for us. Visit. Call. Text. We need that love as we move forward. Thank you for your understanding, your kindness, and for reading. I will see you all very soon.
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